Aalborg University

Aalborg University (AAU)
Aalborg Universitet (AAU)
Latin: Universitas Alburgensis
Motto Viis Novis
Type Public university
Established 1974
Budget DKK 2.847 billion (2016)
Chairman Lene Espersen
Rector Per Michael Johansen
Administrative staff
3.351 (2016)[1]
Students 20.506 (2016)[1]
354 (2016)[1]
Location Aalborg, Denmark
Campus Aalborg, Esbjerg, Copenhagen
Affiliations ECIU, ENTREE and CESAER
Website www.aau.dk

Coordinates: 57°00′54″N 9°59′06″E / 57.015000°N 9.985000°E / 57.015000; 9.985000

Aalborg University (AAU) is a Danish public university with campuses in Aalborg, Esbjerg, and Copenhagen founded in 1974. The university awards bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and Ph.D. degrees in a wide variety of subjects within humanities, social sciences, information technology, design, engineering, exact sciences, and medicine.


The idea of a university in the North Jutland region started in 1961 when the North Jutland Committee for higher education institutions was established. On 19th of August, 1969 the Aalborg University Association was founded and a planning group was established with Eigil Hastrup as chairman. The same year in December about 1,000 people from North Jutland demonstrated in front of the Folketinget (the Danish parliament) for their cause.

In 1970, a law about the establishment of a university centre in Aalborg was passed in the Danish parliament. In 1972, it was decided that the first rector of the new university center should be the Swedish historian and professor Jörgen Weibull. On 1st of September, 1974 Aalborg University Center (AUC) was inaugurated by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Jørgen Weibull was replaced by Sven Caspersen as rector of Aalborg University Center (AUC) in 1976. At the same time, a new management organization was established under a consistory. The first formal cooperation agreement was signed with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1980. The North Jutland knowledge park was established in 1989 as a neighbor to Aalborg University Center (AUC).

In 1993, external representatives joined the consistory. In 1994, Aalborg University Center (AUC) changed its name to Aalborg University (AAU). Aalborg University - Esbjerg was established through a merger between the engineering college in Esbjerg and Aalborg University in 1995. In 1998, the NOVI science park was connected to Aalborg University.

Aalborg University Copenhagen was formed in collaboration with the engineering college in Copenhagen in 2003. A new university board was formed and joined by its members on 1st of February 2004, with Jørgen Østergaard appointed as rector. In 2005, Finn Kjærsdam was hired by the university board as rector. Aalborg University and the Danish Building Research Institute merged in 2007. In 2010, Aalborg University established a faculty of Medicine and created a medical education. Per Michael Johansen was hired as rector by the university board in 2014.[2]


Aalborg University differentiates itself from the older and more traditional Danish universities with its focus on interdisciplinary, inter-faculty studies; an experimental curriculum based on an interdisciplinary basic course with subsequent specialisation; a pedagogical structure based on problem-centred, real-life projects of educational and research relevance – which internationally has become known and recognised as The Aalborg Model. With the problem-based, project-organised model, semesters at AAU are centred around complex real-life problems which students attempt to find answers to in a scientific manner while working together in groups. In February 2007, the foundation of the UICEE Centre for Problem Based Learning (UCPBL) paid recognition to Aalborg University, which subsequently led to the appointment of AAU as UNESCO Chair in problem-based learning.[3][4]

Administration and organisation

The university is governed by a board consisting of 11 members as follows:

  • Six members recruited outside the university form the majority of the board
  • Two members are appointed by the scientific staff
  • One member is appointed by the administrative staff
  • Two members are appointed by the university students

The rector is appointed by the university board. The rector in turn appoints deans, and deans appoint heads of departments. There is no faculty senate and faculty are not involved in the appointment of rector, deans, or department heads. Hence the university has no faculty governance.[5]

Faculties and departments

Aalborg University has five faculties with a number of departments, schools, centres and study boards. Since 1st January 2017, AAU has been divided into the following faculties:[6][7]


Aalborg University Library is a public research library for the North Jutland region. The library's primary mission is to support research and education at Aalborg University by providing appropriate information and documentation. The University Library is geographically located at Langagervej 2 in Aalborg, which is linked to smaller branches located on other campuses in Aalborg, Esbjerg and Copenhagen.[8]

Special action areas and cross-disciplinary research

AAU conducts research within all faculties. Aalborg University is among the leading universities in the world within health technology research, wireless communication, energy, computer science, innovation economics and comparative welfare studies. AAU has established centres for telecommunication at Birla Institute of Technology in India, at Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia, and at the University of Rome. Furthermore, AAU has established a research centre for health technology at Xi'an Jiaotong University in China.

AAU has conducted several experiments in the field of CubeSat technology. The first AAU CubeSat was launched on 30 June 2003, the second (called AAUSAT-II) on 28 April 2008 and the third will be launched in Q1, 2013.[9] After launching AAUSAT3 the fourth will begin development.[10]

AAU has always adopted a cross-disciplinary, problem-based approach to research which often requires contributions from a number of scientific disciplines. Aalborg University has five cross-disciplinary action areas:

  • Sustainable energy, the environment and construction
  • Global production, innovation, knowledge development and coherence
  • Information technology
  • Nanotechnology and nanoproduction
  • Experience technology and design

Cooperative agreements with other universities and colleges

Aalborg University is a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), which was founded in 1997 by 10 European universities. The other 9 European universities are: Dublin City University, Ireland; Linköping University, Sweden; Aveiro University, Portugal; Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg, Germany; University of Stavanger, Norway; Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania; Tampere University of Technology, Finland; University of Twente, The Netherlands.

The aim of the ECIU is to create a European network where participating universities can exchange experiences and practices in projects in education, research, and regional development. In 2010, the ECIU consisted of eleven members and three foreign affiliates.[11]

Notable alumni and people associated with Aalborg University

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Aalborg Universitet i tal". www.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. "Aalborg Universitets historie". www.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. "The Aalborg model for problem based learning". www.en.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. "UNESCO CHAIRS". Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. "The Aalborg University Board". www.en.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. "Faculties at AAU". www.en.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  7. "Departments at Aalborg University". www.en.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  8. "The University Library". www.en.aub.aau.dk. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  9. "AAUSAT 3". AAUSATLAB. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  10. "AAUSAT 4". AAUSATLAB. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  11. "European Consortium of Innovative Universities". Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  12. "Denmark". Directory of Open Access Repositories. UK: University of Nottingham. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
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